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I've been looking into low volume recording solutions that would allow me to have my amp turned up enough that the power tubes are cooking.

Based on Pete Thorn's excellent video, I''m convinced that for silent recording the reactive load technology + an IRs is the way to go. So here there are a few contenders for reactive load boxes: Suhr, Two Notes and AMT. Yet, my understanding is that with these units if the THRU is engaged (a real speaker is connected) than the reactive technology is no longer in play.

So, for a low volume setup, would I not get the same result from an attenuator with a line out, where I maintain the THRU to the speaker, and the line out goes to the IRs? I could have a Weber Mass for instance heavily attenuating my amp. I wouldn't care about the sound coming out of the speaker, as I'm just interested in the line out.
 

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The idea of the reactive load boxes is that the line out from them is going to be more like a line out from the amp attached to a real speaker cabinet than using a resistive load. Some of the load boxes have a speaker volume control or some form of attenuation, most do not.

The Weber Mass is trying to do a similar thing using a speaker motor, so it isn’t a resistive load either. The Weber Mass can also work as a load box without a speaker plugged in. To do that, you want to buy one that handles more power than the amp you will be using it with, the Mass 100 can attenuate a 60 watt amp down to zero.

The Weber Mass and some of the load boxes have tone controls so that you can tweak the output.

The question is, is one better than the other, or is one more useful than the other for you?

Most comparisons find the Weber doesn’t sound as good as the other reactive load boxes, especially when attenuating down to zero and using the amp at full volume. But a lot of people are still able to get favourable results using the Weber.

I think you are going to be able to achieve similar results from any of them if you work with the equalization on the units or in your IR software.

So, how important is it to you for the load box to behave exactly like a real speaker cabinet would?

The Weber is way cheaper. If you want this one thing to double as an attenuator, that is probably the thing to buy.

I’ve recently bought the Suhr and a Weber Z-matcher so that I can use it with my 2 and 4 ohm amps.. I decided that the attenuation isn’t very important to me, I don’t push my amps, although I could use that setup to get half power. I haven’t actually used it at all yet! [I bought that Suhr through Amazon for a pretty good price from a place in Blainville, I think.]

I would like to know exactly how that Weber Mass works, it seemed kind of weird to me for this reason, you choose the output impedence of the amp, and then it says you can plug any impedence speaker into the output of the attenuator, but the big knob lets you connect the speaker back to the amp, which must be a mismatch in some cases?

One of those attenuators [Fryette?] really put me off because they have one output marked 2 or 4 ohms. What?! Which is it? I think it’s actually 3.2 ohms, and they are saying it’s ok to use 2 ohms with that. I don’t know.

I like the reamp idea.
 

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Attenuators are only good for peeling off a few dB from a loud amp. Anything more than 6 or so dB and, IMO, the negative effect on tone isn't worth it. If you're playing live and just need to tame an amp a bit, they work OK for that. Attenuating way down to at-home levels, not so much.

That's where fully terminating an amp's output into a loadbox is much better. Of course, most people have discovered the loadbox has to be very similar to an actual speaker, so reactive loads now dominate that end of the market. They don't generally attenuate some of the amp's output, they absorb all of it and then give you a signal to record or re-amplify or whatever. And with this tech, you get all of the amp (pre and power stages) in the signal, not just the pre, a la amp line outs.

IME, the most useful for accurate home attentuation is re-ampers (or reactive load boxes fed to a clean amp). Fryette PS, Badcat Unleash, or a rx loadbox into a clean power amp. That signal through a guitar cab only misses the extra sound component of a working speaker (impossible to recreate without an iso-box or separate loud room, like in a studio). You also have the Fletcher-Munson effect, and nothing will overcome the 'deficiency' of our ears' hearing at lower volumes. That's just physics / biology.

That said, the newest reactive re-ampers and loadboxes are the best tech we've ever had for home playing. They're just a little pricey. Solving the 'too loud when playing live' issue was somewhat effectively dealt with decades ago, with the resistive attentuators.
 
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I've been looking into low volume recording solutions that would allow me to have my amp turned up enough that the power tubes are cooking.

Based on Pete Thorn's excellent video, I''m convinced that for silent recording the reactive load technology + an IRs is the way to go. So here there are a few contenders for reactive load boxes: Suhr, Two Notes and AMT. Yet, my understanding is that with these units if the THRU is engaged (a real speaker is connected) than the reactive technology is no longer in play.

So, for a low volume setup, would I not get the same result from an attenuator with a line out, where I maintain the THRU to the speaker, and the line out goes to the IRs? I could have a Weber Mass for instance heavily attenuating my amp. I wouldn't care about the sound coming out of the speaker, as I'm just interested in the line out.
Reactive load + IR is a bit redundant. If you use an IR, all you really need is a resistive load to keep the amp working (cheaper/easier, esp if you DIY). This is what I plan to do for silent bass recording - DIY 200 watt resistive load into a RND active DI (no IR for me because I don't believe in that shit personally ;p ... if anything I'd reamp later - I don't have to be quiet for bothering other people reasons so much as separation in a live take). If you use the thu and plug a real speaker in then you don't need the fake reactive load because you have the real one (speaker voice coil) connected (unless it is isolated somehow.... frankly, if you have a speaker plugged in what the hell is the load for, just disconnect it - it is not an attenuator).

You would only get the same result from an attenuator if it is a reactive load type; I believe they do isolate the speaker from the amp, but this may vary by model. Could be wrong about this bit.
 

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Here’s a vid of a resistive vs reactive load. There’s a difference, but imho it’s not that huge. The 2 notes is $310 new and the same attenuator is $150 new


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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I've been running my vintage amps(Princeton, '63 Ac10, Ac30 before) into a weber minimass and running the DI out into my DAW for years now for silent recording. Today's IR's are so good that when I've had the rare opportunity to actually mic an amp I usually end up going back to the IR take. Why? Because when you get back from the studio, room, wherever that you've done the re-amp at and decide that the sm57, 421, etc etc didn't sound as good you're hooped. With an IR you can go back and change it and/or the location on the IR if it's not sitting in the mix properly. And chances are the studio that recorded those IR's have waaaaay better preamps and mics and rooms that I do.
I record in a condo and IR's have been a god send.
The weber definitely compresses the tone a bit. Is that a bad thing? Depends. I find that if I record with the weber I don't have to add compression after on mix down. The guitar tracks still sound great and sit in the mix nicely. My amps are never really cranked to the max as that's not what I'm going for and prefer to use pedals for lot's of distortion. Is the Suhr better? Maybe, but it costs pretty much what an amp costs and having limited impedance outs is a no go for me. I need 8 and 16.
I've had several songs mixed by other engineers and none of them have ever said that the tracks needed lot's of tweaking.
For me, the affordability of quiet recording volumes makes up for the ultimate recorded tone.
It's all about comprimises.
 

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I use a Two Notes Torpedo Live, directly into my interface, controlled by the Torpedo Remote software. It presents as an 8 ohm load to the amp. If you connect a speaker to the TL it bypasses the load and you set the amp to whatever ohmage the cab is, ie 4ohm etc.

With a speaker attached the output to the DAW with IR is still active, so I can have my amp blasting through a real cab and twiddle with the IRs to get it sounding good through the PA/ DAW too.
 

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I've been running my vintage amps(Princeton, '63 Ac10, Ac30 before) into a weber minimass and running the DI out into my DAW for years now for silent recording. Today's IR's are so good that when I've had the rare opportunity to actually mic an amp I usually end up going back to the IR take. Why? Because when you get back from the studio, room, wherever that you've done the re-amp at and decide that the sm57, 421, etc etc didn't sound as good you're hooped. With an IR you can go back and change it and/or the location on the IR if it's not sitting in the mix properly. And chances are the studio that recorded those IR's have waaaaay better preamps and mics and rooms that I do.
I record in a condo and IR's have been a god send.
The weber definitely compresses the tone a bit. Is that a bad thing? Depends. I find that if I record with the weber I don't have to add compression after on mix down. The guitar tracks still sound great and sit in the mix nicely. My amps are never really cranked to the max as that's not what I'm going for and prefer to use pedals for lot's of distortion. Is the Suhr better? Maybe, but it costs pretty much what an amp costs and having limited impedance outs is a no go for me. I need 8 and 16.
I've had several songs mixed by other engineers and none of them have ever said that the tracks needed lot's of tweaking.
For me, the affordability of quiet recording volumes makes up for the ultimate recorded tone.
It's all about comprimises.
Do you still like the Weber? How do you set it?
 

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So with the weber, it has a line out option. You set your impedance output to match your amp and that's it. It converts the amp's signal to line out and then into your recording interface, mixing board, etc.
I don't use it that much for recording my amps anymore because I have a Suhr reactive which is better. But if I hadn't gotten the suhr on a deal I would still be using the Weber. I also use Line 6's helix native software a lot. Came in very useful for the album.
 

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So with the weber, it has a line out option. You set your impedance output to match your amp and that's it. It converts the amp's signal to line out and then into your recording interface, mixing board, etc.
I don't use it that much for recording my amps anymore because I have a Suhr reactive which is better. But if I hadn't gotten the suhr on a deal I would still be using the Weber. I also use Line 6's helix native software a lot. Came in very useful for the album.
I just bought a Suhr RL.
 

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So with the weber, it has a line out option. You set your impedance output to match your amp and that's it. It converts the amp's signal to line out and then into your recording interface, mixing board, etc.
I don't use it that much for recording my amps anymore because I have a Suhr reactive which is better. But if I hadn't gotten the suhr on a deal I would still be using the Weber. I also use Line 6's helix native software a lot. Came in very useful for the album.
What amps are you using with the Suhr? What kind of sounds?
 

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Bit of an update from before: used the Rupert Neve Designs RNDI with my DIY pure resistive load to rec bass (through my vintage Sunn 1200s) in a band at once situation (so no bass bleed into the drum mics; a big problem in my smallish room).

Worked great, sounds awesome.

I can't post a song yet cuz the band still reviewing mixes.
 
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